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  1. #1
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    Need a light, country roads, long rides

    I ran in to a bat (like flying mouse, not wonderboy) the other night, so I think my $10 Target special headlamp is overdue for an upgrade.

    Thing is, I'm torn between these gorgeous high output lights and the simplicity of something that takes some AA batteries. I like the AAs because they don't run dead sitting and I don't have to worry about charge times. Plus I can just toss a few extras in my seat-pack as backups. I don't want to skip a ride because I forgot to charge a battery, right?

    I'm out riding for 2-4 hours a night, there's probably a streetlamp every 2 miles, and I keep a good 15-18mph pace. I'd like something that is good for 8 hours in case I decide to do a century in the dark.

    Am I overthinking rechargables? Is there something that takes both that I could swap in alkalines in a pinch?

    I'm not crazy price conscious, but it would be swell if it cost ~$100 or less. Considering what I've been using almost anything is going to be a big improvement.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    The easiest thing to do is get a better head lamp. There are dozens of AA flashlights that can be strapped to a bar as well.

    First thing to decide is whether you want to put money into a better head lamp or just add a handlebar light to what you have. If you don't buy a great head light - then you need both.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  3. #3
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    I use the dual NiteRider setup for adventure racing. It works great!


    www.rock-racing.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    Dinotte sells a version of their 200L headlamp that runs on 4 AA cells. Takes alkaline, lithium, and rechargables. Has 3 steady and 3 flash modes. They periodically have it on sale without charger or batteries. The light straps to handlebars with o-rings. I bought the optional helmet mount and use it for commuting as a backup light and aimable/get drivers' attention. I get decent runtime from NiMH, and carry single-use lithium cells as backup. Low discharge rate NiMHs have better shelf life and almost as good capacity as regular NiMH cells. The battery holder is similar to the 4-cell holder Radio Shack sells, so it's easy to have a 2nd pack ready to go, or to replace when they fail or corrode. 200 lumens (full power) is a lot of light, I can often run at the lower settings depending on other light sources and how far ahead I need to see. I used this light as a primary headlamp for a couple of seasons. If the Dinotte is too much money, there are several high output self-contained (AA) lights by Planet Bike (blaze?) and Cateye that may work for you and will cost 1/2-1/4 the Dinotte.

  5. #5
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Your best bet for your price range would be looking at an r5 light from Shiningbeam and look at 18650 cells.. You would still be well under you 100.00 price point. Most lights that would last as long as you need would be in the 50-100 lumen range to give you the long runtimes you are asking for.. The R5 is right at 300 lumens out the front, quite a bit brighter than what you are using now.. I would buy 3 cells, each would give you right at 2 hours of runtime in high mode, they are easy to swap out on the road, takes about a minute..

    If you want a AA solution - I have a fenix l2d - duracell nimh charger - cells and lockblock available.. This is 1/2 as bright as the R5 light, but does use AA batteries. Send me a pm if interested..

    But for best brightness/long runtime look at this: http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...4-II-R5/Detail

    charger: http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...Battery/Detail

    extra cells: http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...e-18650/Detail

  6. #6
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    Give some thought to the wear and tear of removing and replacing AA batteries each time you recharge them. How long will the battery holder last under this use? Now consider a battery pack that you plug into a charger. How long will that last under constant use? Just saying because I've been there and done that and my experience is that plugging in a charger tends to stand up to this for a lot longer.

  7. #7
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I ride with this one.
    Great run times, with easy charging.



    http://www.google.com/search?q=ixon+...2&ved=0CCgQsAQ

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/b&m.asp
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  8. #8
    Senior Member RepWI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
    Your best bet for your price range would be looking at an r5 light from Shiningbeam and look at 18650 cells.. You would still be well under you 100.00 price point. Most lights that would last as long as you need would be in the 50-100 lumen range to give you the long runtimes you are asking for.. The R5 is right at 300 lumens out the front, quite a bit brighter than what you are using now.. I would buy 3 cells, each would give you right at 2 hours of runtime in high mode, they are easy to swap out on the road, takes about a minute..

    If you want a AA solution - I have a fenix l2d - duracell nimh charger - cells and lockblock available.. This is 1/2 as bright as the R5 light, but does use AA batteries. Send me a pm if interested..

    But for best brightness/long runtime look at this: http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...4-II-R5/Detail

    charger: http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...Battery/Detail

    extra cells: http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...e-18650/Detail
    I have a similar solution. I just keep an extra 18650 with me. I do run it on flash mode so I get a bit more run time. Some may not like that continual flash though you can always run in another mode.

    Pick up 3-4 extra batteries and rotate them through your system as the need to be recharged.
    1974 Mizutani Super Seraph Road Bike
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker

  9. #9
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Here's my recommendation. < $50 for light, mount, battery, charger and a blinkie taillight. Downside, 3 week delivery from China. But plenty bright, waterproof and reliable (in my experience).

    LiIon batteries do not self-discharge very much. If you let them sit for many months you'll probably want to top them off but for a week or two, no problems. I've used them after 3 months of sitting and still got good runtime. You generally won't need the highest power on that flashlight so you'll probably get more like 90 to 120 minutes of runtime per change of battery.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    These kinds of "which light" questions always bring about different perspectives that are a result of different riders in different situations wanting different lighting performance.

    It is indeed interesting. One forum member might conclude that "lighting" is one accessory to bicycling that is extremely difficult to tailor any given cyclist. In many ways - its like advising someone what "clothing" to use on a ride. One size never fits all.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  11. #11
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    @Richard: True, but I think that's true of any aspect of cycling. We can't even get 100% agreement on how many wheels are ideal for every situation. Clothing, wheel size, geometry, tire width, type of tube, puncture prevention, type of pedal, type of chain, brand of derailleur, handlebar type, shifter type, brake type, paint color, you name it. There are choices of every one of those that is ideal for some riders and completely wrong for others.

    That's why every time someone says "Which doodad should I get" almost without fail the very first response is "That depends. What are you going to do with it, what's your environment, city, rural, dirt track, pavement, what's your budget, what's your favorite color?"
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  12. #12
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    Riding thru the nite...as the coyotes howl...

    [QUOTE=DrSpiv;12762349]
    I'm out riding for 2-4 hours a night, there's probably a streetlamp every 2 miles, and I keep a good 15-18mph pace. I'd like something that is good for 8 hours in case I decide to do a century in the dark.QUOTE]

    i'm often out thru the nite and generallly out in the middle of nowhere. I also have poor nite vision. With a K-mart special lite that means slowing down to a crawl.... and maybe getting lost. As much as I hate the extra weight of the battery packs- and to a degree the unreliability of rechargeable batteries, I've grown pretty dependent on my mega brite Seca lights (lite in motion)- it practically lights up the mountain side. I don't know that I would try a hard descent down a mountain in the dark w/o it. It's stupidly EXPENSIVE but it allows me to really cook the speed in the dark. I also carry a second redundant battery operated light w/ me if I'm riding thru the nite or expect to be out several days....

  13. #13
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    If you go back to the original post - everyone takes different clues from it to recommend different solutions.
    I'm not crazy price conscious, but it would be swell if it cost ~$100 or less. Considering what I've been using almost anything is going to be a big improvement.
    I kind of give up.

    When people want light advice - do you tell them how much equipment might be "enough" or suggest more lighting than they could possibly need.

    I started out wanting just enough light and ended up wanting more than I need
    . I wonder in everybody else does as well.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  14. #14
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
    If you go back to the original post - everyone takes different clues from it to recommend different solutions.
    I kind of give up.

    When people want light advice - do you tell them how much equipment might be "enough" or suggest more lighting than they could possibly need.

    I started out wanting just enough light and ended up wanting more than I need
    . I wonder in everybody else does as well.
    Agreed on many levels.. Years back when LEDs starting coming out which offered longer runtimes and decent illumination there was a tradeoff as compared to lights that cost 4-6x as much.. Now you can get lights that match or far exceed what is commercially available for 1/3 of the price.

    When I read about someone who rides dark roads and my mini mag is more than enough light, I want to bang my head against the wall. You can get a very bright light - 500 lumens+ with batteries - charger and mount for under $60.00.

    As far as your point, Richard, yes you always ending up wanting more. The 2 lights I use riding at night put out a combined 1800 lumens and find it is a nice balance of being able to see down the road and seeing everything in front of me.

  15. #15
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    You know...I can't help it. It's like someone else said about everyone having different lighting needs - everyone has a decent opinion on what's "good enough".

    Whenever someone says "Oh, you can get more than enough light for $60, anyone doing anything else is an idiot" my B.S. meter goes off. It is - not totally impossible that lighting has progressed far enough for that. But...

    Every time I've bought a light and not felt that it put out enough light - someone has been claiming that it puts out more than enough light. I just had someone say that a light I didn't like put out enough light to bomb down the side of mountains at night with. And I'm like "Well - good luck with that, I couldn't get it to put out enough light to ride in the darkish areas of the city for my taste".

    I mean the truth is - actually - extremely complicated. Even things like lying about lumens aside (it's fairly established that a Magicshine's 900's "900" lumens is much less than a Light and Motion 900 lumen light), light is just complicated. I biked home in the city once at night when I was out way later than I meant to be, and I forgot my light. With no light, I could got 15mph for 90% of the route and I was fine - the ambient light from the city, plus being on a bike path, plus there being no direct lights or car headlights on the path meant the only places where it was a problem was where it was most heavily wooded and under a few bridges.

    But the worst is actually partially lit trails, or places where you get headlights hitting your eyes - then I need way, way, waaaaaaay more light. Or when you really need to see things off to the side of the trail like rabbits that try to run through your wheels. Or when there's oncoming headlights...

    Lighting is...bizarre.

    The only lighting I'm completely comfortable with is running a Seca 900 on high with a Seca 1400 on medium. That thing lights up - well, *everything*. But it's really terrible if there's anyone else around. It's really blinding for walkers and oncoming bikers. Even group bikers in the same group don't like it because if they look back at my lights - blinding. So...still trying to find the perfect solution...

  16. #16
    I am a caffine girl colleen c's Avatar
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    Individual preference for lights is as Spock will say: "Facinating".

    Some folks do fine will 150 lumens while other needs 1000+. Personally I'm ok with 500 lumens as that's what the MS900 will do. However I went way beyond that and it's not all because of my personal liking.

    As a cyclist, we have our own reaction of how much lumens is needed for our reaction. Unfortunately same goes with drivers. I witness some driver who saw my lonely single DX P7 and yield to me from a distant. I guess those drivers are the more sensitive to lights. Than I had cases of driver who looked right at me and crossed in front at a intersection while I used a MS900. I guess those driver are less sensitive or just thinks that the light they saw was a far distant away. Whatever it was, it is what it is. Here's the interesting thing. When I started running 2000+ OTF lumens, I have yet to have anyone cross in front of me at the intersection. They all behaved in a more passive manner and waited me out.

    I will admit though that at times, the more light sensitive drivers do seem a little bother by the brighter lights but that's just something I rather do if it means having more lights than needed to cover everyone else (drivers) reaction of what minimum lumen is needed for them to see me.
    Last edited by colleen c; 06-15-11 at 05:33 PM.
    "Difference between a well dressed cyclist riding a two wheeled bicycle and a badly dressed cyclist riding a Recumbent is only a-tire"
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    Some people got their head so far up their butt such that the only thing they hear is muffle when trying to explain anything to them! I only wish they take it out sometimes to smell the roses.

  17. #17
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    It is always...interesting, to see the natural progression of things.

    Someone - starts with a car. But that's not safe enough, they need a bigger car. But that's not good enough either, they need an suv. Then they have kids - that's not safe enough either, they need the biggest SUV they can buy. I mean sure, they can't see out of it, and it takes up the entire lane and might swipe you as they go you on their bike. But - they're safe. That's what matters. If it wasn't for laws dictating what kind of headlights they could have, they would undoubtedly have headlights so bright that you literally could not see if you were coming towards them. Then you would have to get your windshield tinted...and brighter lights of your own, so you can see through your windshield...

    They could not care less - after all, they're protecting their own safety. And the safety of their children.

    And it is similar with bikes. First one needs a light. Then one needs light to be able to see well with. Then one needs a light bright enough to get attention. Then one needs a light so bright, no one will pull out in front of you - because they cannot even see where they are going.

    To counter this, I plan on installing some aftermarket and technically illegal headlights on my car, that light things up enough that your bike lights are no longer a problem. Sure, you might swerve off the road and crash into a tree, but I will be safe - and that's what's important.

  18. #18
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    For me personally I feel more comfortable with around 2000 lumens like Colleen.. I use lights, one has decent throw / sidespill and the other is more of a thrower.. I stack the beams so I can see comfortably down the road. Like some of you, when I ride at night, it is because it the only time I get to ride so it is usually at 18-20mph average. If you have a lot of light riding at speed is much safer. The nice thing about the area I live, is that after 8pm the roads are fairly empty as compared to riding in the daytime.

  19. #19
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    All of my night rides are on dark rural roads. The Shiningbeam MC-E is the best thing I've found. It uses one 18650, and you can carry all the spares you want. On a dark road with no competing lights I can ride for hours on medium mode. I'm guessing I get 2-3 hours battery time on medium, and ~ an hour on high. I only use high on downhills, or if I do get on a 2 lane with traffic. For me traffic is about one car every 5 minutes or so.
    However, I don't ride as fast as you do.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

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